Apophysomyces is a filamentous fungus that is commonly found in soil and decaying vegetation. It normally grows in tropical to subtropical regions.
The genus Apophysomyces currently contains only a single species, Apophysomyces elegans.
Apophysomyces elegans is a thermotolerant fungus: it has been found to grow favourably at temperatures of 26°C and 37°C, and it grows rapidly at 42°C. Its colonies are fluffy and cottony in appearance. The surface of the colony is white initially and turns to a brownish-grey or yellowish-cream as the culture ages, while the underside is white to pale yellow in colour.
However, Apophysomyces elegans is the cause of the rare infection, known as zygomycosis, in humans, which is often fatal.
Infection is usually acquired via traumatic implantations associated with soil or decaying vegetable matter (such as from accidental injuries or insect bites). Invasive soft tissue infections can develop on burns or wounds which are contaminated by soil. Unlike other zygomycosis, the affected host is usually otherwise immunocompetent. Apophysomyces elegans infections present most commonly as necrotizing fasciitis, osteomyelitis, and angioinvasion. Systemic and secondary renal and bladder infections have also been reported.